The Belgian federal energy regulator CREG has approved the new transmission rates grid manager Elia will charge for electricity distribution via the high-voltage network. The energy price will be significantly increased because the energy transition and expected EV boom will require a lot of heavy investments in the coming years.
For consumers, higher rates mean a slightly higher bill, up 3% or about 40 euros annually, or an average of about 3 euros per month. Due to the significant increase – the rates will rise by an average of 77 percent in the following years – families’ electricity bills will also go up, and heavy consumers with a heat pump or an electric car will even pay more.
Elia, the Belgian transmission system operator for high-voltage electricity, manages the high-voltage grid in Belgium. The grid operator passes on the costs for that management in the rating for households and companies, and CREG has to decide whether all these costs are justified.
Due to the increasing electrification of our society (more heat pumps and electric cars), there is a need for a solid high-voltage grid. Elia will, therefore, invest billions in the coming years in, among other things, the new Ventilus and Boucle-du-Hainaut high-voltage lines. In concrete terms, Elia will invest 6,4 billion euros in the grid in the period 2024-2027.
The higher transmission rates of power grid operator Elia will only increase the already large competitive handicap of Belgian energy-intensive companies compared to foreign rivals, sector federation Febeliec says.
Therefore, “urgent measures” are needed; otherwise, “investments in our industry threaten to come to a further standstill, and we will increasingly see industrial activities, investments, jobs, exports, research and added value disappear to other parts of the world or even to our neighboring countries”. Febeliec asks, among other things, to look at “alternative means of financing Elia’s investments without increasing electricity costs”.
Other European countries
Also, other European countries have to invest to change their networks, and there, too, the costs are passed on to consumers. Last year, Italy announced a vast plan to redesign its network, and the Netherlands and France face significant investments.
The grid rates only make up part of the total electricity bill. It is mainly the wholesale price that influences the invoice. Energy bills are expected to remain high in the coming years due to energy-generating costs.